Fighting Over Poisoned Chalice

Four days after a UK General Election that left all the major parties short of the number of seats needed to form the next government, the leaders of all three are still engaged in talks to decide who will be running the country.

During the morning of May 10 Liberal-Democrat leader Nick Clegg, whose party came third in the election but still finds himself in the role of kingmaker, was reportedly discussing how far he can cooperate with the vote-winning Conservatives.

Around lunchtime it emerged that some of Clegg’s colleagues were also in talks with a posse from the Labour hierarchy, who’d presumably dump party leader and current prime minister Gordon Brown if Clegg would hand them the balance of power.

While many doubt the Liberal-Democrats and the Tories can form a politically credible alliance, there’s very little doubt that Clegg and Brown would struggle to forge a good personal working relationship. It’s emerged that they don’t get on very well together.

For all the political horse-trading that’s going on behind the scenes, it seems Clegg, Brown, and Tory leader David Cameron may all be fighting over what Bank Of England governor Mervyn King has already described as being “a poisoned chalice.”

King is obviously as well-positioned as anyone to comprehend the size of the UK’s mountainous national debt and what measure of austerity will be needed to shrink it.

Whoever is charged with bringing in unpopular measures during a likely short-term spell in charge, may find themselves short of votes when later in the year the UK will likely try to find a more decisive result.